Foster’s Food Fair has removed all shark products from its shelves.
The supermarket had previously sold shark meat and has now taken shark cartilage pills off the shelves.
The store has also sponsored a tag for Coco the Tiger Shark, who is being tracked to give Marine Conservation International, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and the Guy Harvey Research Institute a better understanding about the movement of sharks in local waters and around the Caribbean Sea.
Marine Conservation International’s Mauvis Gore said, “I am delighted that Foster’s Food Fair has taken such an important step for Cayman’s marine environment.”
Ms Gore said the store had sold shark meat in the past.
Tim Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment, said, “Sharks are a vital part of the ocean’s food web, which in turn helps to keep our reefs healthy”.
However, sharks are being lost at an alarming rate locally and globally, mainly due to the Asian shark fin trade, but the demand worldwide for alternative health products, such as shark cartilage, is adding to the problem, conservationists say.
Shark cartilage has been thought to help treat cancer, but scientific studies have shown shark cartilage is not effective in halting the growth or spread of cancerous tumours. There is no published data to suggest unprocessed shark cartilage supplements are effective in treating other conditions.
Sharks are more vulnerable to exploitation than bony fish because they mature slowly, reproduce late in life and often only have pups every two years.
Ms Gore said that by taking shark products off the shelves, Foster’s Food Fair is helping the reefs return to an ecological balance.